Tag Archives: Drug Abuse

Helping Addicted Inmates

The number of people suffering from substance use disorder who likely think they won’t end up in jail is probably large—especially if they have good jobs. They never think it will happen to them. But it can. As a recent episode of the TV program Dopesick Nation showed, even formerly responsible citizens may find themselves stealing, forging prescriptions, and so forth to support their habit.

 You may have heard we’re not doing nearly enough for substance abusers who end up in jail. But there are a few programs around the country that seek to help these people, often in small towns, that can serve as examples for other towns. Here are a few.

Peer recovery coaches in NJ

 In one NJ town, certified peer recovery specialists are volunteering to work with those suffering from substance use disorder who are incarcerated. In a new program called Next Step, the volunteers are called coaches, and they help to steer prisoners into treatment.

Bail reform in certain areas of the country means that nonviolent offenders are being released earlier, and for addicts, that usually means without treatment or the offer of treatment. (And many [most?] likely got little help in jail.) Although it’s too soon to comment on the program’s success, shortly after the program was instituted at the jail, nearly half of those screened entered treatment.

One of the county prosecutors noted that when people are sent to jail, it’s often their lowest point, a good time to try and convince them that treatment may save their life. Several local organizations have stepped up to provide clinical assistance, including a social services organization helping inmates find jobs, a recovery center, a peer recovery organization and a hospital.

 Having a peer in recovery work with an incarcerated person is another tool in the toolbox to help someone get healthy and return to society.

Helping Addicted Inmates

The Start Strong 3 E’s in Kentucky

There’s a new treatment program in the detention center in Kenton County, KY, in which inmates are expected to be “Employed, Enlisted, or furthering their Education,” 12 weeks after release, according to the program director. The key in this area, which has suffered greatly in the opioid addiction crisis? The jail is partnering with Aetna Better Health and getting help from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

 The concept involves giving medication not only to quell cravings or ease withdrawal symptoms, but to stabilize patients getting therapeutic care in jail. They will then have the option to stay with medication assistance during and after their incarceration, according to a local TV station. And, luckily for these inmates, there’s an aftercare program with intensive job training.

Vivitrol and Counseling in Central New York State

In Onondaga County, NY, addicted inmates are given the opportunity to have injections of Vivitrol and attend counseling sessions. According to the Vivitrol website, the medication “is a non-addictive, once-monthly treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid dependent patients when used with counseling following detoxification.”

Chicago’s Thrive program

Inmates suffering from substance abuse in a Cook County jail who are not in the drug court program are being offered naloxone on release and will be monitored “in a modified version of the sheriff’s electronic monitoring program.” (For example, caseworkers who worked with one woman on the inside will continue to work with her once she’s released.)

Other programs, in Indiana, Orange County, Florida, and Cincinnati, Ohio and Kings County, California, to name a few, show that a number of jails realize they can contribute to finding solutions to substance abuse in this country. Whether it’s to offer Suboxone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, peer coaches, and counseling and job training, or a combination, these programs can serve as a blueprint for other jails.

 

Dopesick the Book

Opiod Crisis

By now you have likely heard of the new book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy. Reviews are everywhere, and Macy appeared on radio station NPR and a PBS episode on TV this month. A reviewer at the Roanoke Times, where Macy once worked, says the book “humanizes the opioid epidemic.” And here’s the reason why it’s making news: he says “It is difficult to imagine a deeper and more heartbreaking examination of America’s opioid crisis than this new book by investigative reporter Beth Macy of Roanoke.”

Dope Sick

A reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle says: “Macy reports on the human carnage with respect and quiet compassion, but it is gut-check reading.” Dope Sick, for the uninitiated, “is the slang term for being in withdrawal from opiates such as narcotic painkillers (oxycodone, hydrocodone, [morphine, fentanyl, or prescription opioids]) and heroin and refers to the symptoms you experience after stopping or drastically reducing opiate drugs after heavy and prolonged use (i.e., several weeks or more),” according to this website. It’s one of the things about addiction that has users going back to drugs, to avoid the horrible symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, leg cramps restlessness, cold sweets, loss of appetite, lack of energy, lethargy, dilerium and …other signs…,” according to the Urban Dictionary. So it’s an apt term to use in the title of a book about the opioid epidemic. And what’s so horrendous, Macy says in the PBS interview, is that epidemiologists say we haven’t even hit the peak of the scourge yet; that’s not due until after 2020. Macy traces the history of the problem, and if you think to yourself, here we go again, you’re in for a surprise.

Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center

Addiction Treatment

What she says is really interesting. She points out that middle class Americans were able to hide what was happening longer. Parents didn’t want to tell their neighbors what was going on in their house, so the trouble was allowed “to fester and grow.” If you haven’t heard about some of the early heroes, she mentions a doctor named Art Van Zee who saw what was happening in Appalachia as more people got addicted and tried to get the attention of those in power. They didn’t listen. Macy also discusses the controversy over medication-assisted treatment (M.A.T.), and the TV viewer immediately understands how the “national divide” is not helping in fighting the problem. The PBS program stops in at an M.A.T program run by a former heroin addict to help make her point. Here’s how Macy explained the divide in a 2016 article: “Among public health officials, the effectiveness of M.A.T. has become an article of faith; after all, treatment with buprenorphine and methadone has been found to cut opioid overdose deaths in half when compared to behavioral therapy alone, and it’s hard to argue with that. An addict treating his opioid disorder with Suboxone, many argue, is no different from a diabetic taking insulin.

Addicts & Their Families 

But increasingly, law enforcement officials — and many former addicts and their families — are lining up on the other side, arguing that Suboxone only continues the cycle of dependence and has created a black market that fuels crime.” Here is a more recent article Macy wrote about part of her book. She starts with a call she got from a mother whose addicted daughter was found murdered. Macy had been following the daughter’s story for a couple of years. The woman was taking Suboxone again and was supposedly on her way home to Roanoke from Las Vegas, but was found dead in a dumpster after she didn’t arrive. As the mother had said on the PBS program, it’s hard to know when to offer help to an addicted child and when to push away, for your own good and for the good of others. There’s always a story about a mother and a child in this epidemic, and it never gets any easier. At the end of the program, Macy says that she’d like to mobilize people to care. There have been a number of books written about the opioid epidemic, but if you read just one book about it this year, make it this one.

To receive help or for more information please contact Summit Estate, an alcohol and drug addiction treatment center, at (866) 569-9391. 

Opioid Protests, and an Imodium High? Who Would Believe It?

 Opioid dissent

 Americans have a long history of protesting when they don’t like something. It hasn’t been that long since Occupy Wall Street, the Parkland, Florida students, and the #MeToo campaigns, to name just three uprisings. But who would have thought there would be an actual protest against OxyContin? A lot has been written against Purdue Pharma, the drug’s manufacturer, but to actually take to the street over it? Well, it’s happened. Last month, Nan Goldin, a well-known photographer who was addicted to opioids herself once, led a demonstration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a wing named for two Sackler brothers whose family owns the company. The group had a symbolic “die-in” there, marched through the halls and also gathered outside. Their goal was to get buy-in from cultural institutions not to accept money from the family, and to fund addiction treatment. They unfurled banners and scattered pill bottles labeled with the drug’s name and the Sackler name into a reflecting pool. MOMA is not the only museum the family has given money to, either.

 Opioid Protest

Previously, a small protest took place in November outside a VA medical center in Florida when six veterans marched outside to protest opioid deaths and show support for medical marijuana. They carried a casket draped in an American flag and then poured “hundreds of empty pill bottles inside the casket.” Most either had a personal story about opioids or knew someone who became addicted. One vet’s young daughter had died from a seizure and he believed she would had lived if she had access to marijuana for her genetic condition. Can you imagine if families that have lost loved ones due to opioids, or who have loved ones that have become addicted decided to them march en masse in major cities? And if those who became addicted themselves joined them and identified and put pressure on perpetrators to provide funding for treatment? That would be something to see. Some people think progress is being made in the fight against the opioid epidemic because a partnership has been established between the NIH and pharmaceutical companies to develop nonaddictive painkillers. But abuse-deterrent doesn’t mean less addictive at all, it simply means pills are harder to crush or do otherwise with for snorting or injecting them.

a drug treatment program

 Imodium

 Also in the category of “Will wonders never cease?”, it seems that Loperamide—Imodium A-D, the diarrhea stopper, has potential for abuse. If you’ve heard of Joe and Teresa Graedon, you may know they’re syndicated columnists with a health column (The People’s Pharmacy) in which they answer readers’ questions and comment on people’s concerns.  In their March column in The Seattle Times, a reader wrote in to say he or she has been taking Imodium for Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years, one pill a day, and it has been extremely helpful. The person doesn’t have to be near a bathroom shortly after eating. He or she was concerned because the FDA wants to limit the allowable amount to be sold over the counter to packs of eight pills, an amount good for two days. The writer is afraid that the price will go up and it will be difficult to get the amount he or she needs. (Sound familiar? Like the complaints from people who take opioids for legitimate pain and don’t abuse them, and are fearful that more stringent measures may mean they won’t be able to get what they need? Appears so.) The Graedons explain: “Some people have been using high doses….to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms; others have abused the drug in order to get high.” One problem with the latter behavior is that it may result in irregular heart rhythms or cardiac arrest. Who knew an IBS medicine could be used for other than stopping diarrhea?

For more information contact Summit Estate, a drug treatment program, at (866) 569-9391.  

Meth Is Back

Opioid Epidemic

Another consequence of the devastating opioid epidemic in this country is that other substance abuse problems have been overlooked. Not to detract from the opioid overdoses and deaths, but alcohol continues to be a huge problem for many people, for example, and now, it seems that meth is surging back, and it’s cheaper and deadlier than before. The town that is the center of one article is Portland, which has been in the news before for drug use problems. (For that matter, what major city hasn’t?) “Crystal meth…has been all but forgotten,” the writer says, “but it has returned with a vengeance.” And in Oregon, more people are dying from it than are dying from heroin. In 2006, the state passed a law requiring a person to have a doctor’s prescription to buy pseudoephedrine, one of the ingredients used to make the drug, but it hasn’t helped stop the problem. That was after Congress had already taken action in 2005 to: 1) require that products with pseudoephedrine be kept behind the counter at pharmacies, 2) limit the amount of them that customers could buy, and 3) require pharmacies to track sales of products containing pseudoephedrine.

Meth Addiction

It seems that just as people who become addicted to oxycodone switch to heroin because it’s cheaper, the price of the meth on the market now, coupled with the purity, is making meth attractive again. There is a big difference between the two drugs, however, as noted by a Portland sheriff quoted in the article: “Heroin is a depressant. It shuts you down and you’re not capable of doing a whole lot.” [Meth is a stimulant.] “Tweakers are jacked up. They have lowered inhibitions and are awake 24/7, running around at night, so burglaries become easier.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more information on its meth page, including a photo of “meth mouth.” It’s usually used as a white pill or powder, which is bitter. Crystal meth looks like shiny blue-white rocks, or glass fragments. (Remember the blue meth in Breaking Bad?) One thing people may not know about meth use is that it puts you at greater risk “of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, …[which] are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.” Also, it can “alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases risk for infection.”

a drug addiction treatment center

Drug Addiction Treatment Center

The Narconon website describes meth use in frightening terms: “In its manufacture, methamphetamine is processed using harsh, caustic chemicals. As a result, heavy use of this drug is very hard on the user. Additionally, the lifestyle of a methamphetamine user usually creates further damage. All in all, it is one of the most damaging drugs on the illicit market. Repeated use can show up in an irregular heartbeat, rapid heartbeat, mood disturbances, violent, aggressive, paranoid behavior, confusion and insomnia. There may be a rapid deterioration of the person’s behavior or appearance if he or she is a heavy user.” The website also has a Family Guide to Stopping Meth Abuse page that contains a lot of common sense. For example, rehab is key, and not a 28-day program, either (which is true in most cases, no?). An addiction expert interviewed for the meth article at the beginning of this post said that 80 or 90 percent of heroin users use meth as well, so meth needs more attention. “We need to think about substance abuse more broadly,” he advised. Montana, Oklahoma, and Hawaii have also experienced an increase in meth use, and the cartels are now looking to expand to the East Coast because their profit is so low on meth due to its lowered price. In fact, one of the tragedies related to this drug is a story that comes out of South Carolina, where a 20-year-old woman high on meth gouged her eyes out last month. She now wants to try and keep other people off drugs.

For more information on a drug addiction treatment center & rehab programs contact Summit Estate at (866) 569-9391.

The Addicted Brain: The Dopamine Effect

The Addicted Brain-Dopamine EffectSubstance Abuse’s Effect On Dopamine

Every drug that leads to dependence has been shown to affect the brain’s dopamine system. With some drugs, such as stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine, there is a direct effect on dopamine production while others appear to affect it indirectly. In the case of alcohol, it does not increase dopamine levels directly. However, there is an indirect link. In fact, everything that provides pleasure has the ability to perpetuate a release of dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain along with triggering an endorphin release. Research has shown that dopamine produces feelings of “wanting” and “reward,” but this is not the same thing as “liking” or “valuation.” In other words, the dopamine produced from something pleasurable can make you crave more of it and will reinforce habitual use of it whether this is drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, or other pleasurable activity.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Illness

While anyone can gain the dopamine effect of drugs or alcohol, it is much more complex when it comes to someone who is also struggling with a mental illness like anxiety or depression. For these individuals, addictive substances are used to not only gain the benefits of increased dopamine, they are also used to medicate the often painful symptoms of mental illness. This makes both diagnosis and treatment more challenging. This is why it’s so important to choose an addiction treatment provider that has experience and expertise in treating co-occurring disorders. Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment In The San Jose Area

Understanding The Numbers Of Addiction

No one begins taking drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted. Yet, a substantial percentage get caught into the trap of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. A few statistics to consider:

  • Nearly one in 10 Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • It’s estimated that over 95% of individuals who need treatment for alcohol addiction do not really believe they need treatment.
  • The top five most addicting drugs are heroin, cocaine, meth, opioid prescription pain relievers and alcohol.

Do You Have A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction?

Are you concerned that you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol? The answer can sometimes seem unclear. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you or your loved one use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?
  • Do you or your loved one experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance?
  • Have you or your loved one ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, addiction is a very real possibility.

It’s Not Easy Admitting That You Need HelpReaching Out-Help For Addiction

Although much more is known now about addiction than in decades past, there is still a stigma and shame associated with it. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem and that you need help. However, the first step in getting help is reaching out to get it. Call a staff member at Summit Estate today. We will treat you with the respect and care that you need. We will be with you every step of the way. Call now. Like What You’ve Read? Check Out More In: The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

Is Silicon Valley Addicted To “Smart” Drugs?

In the high-flying, fast-paced world of Silicon Valley, techies are pushing the limits each and every day to produce the latest innovation or obtain that next round of funding. With stakes so high, an increasing number of individuals in the technology sector are turning to smart drugs to gain a competitive edge and to maximize their abilities.

Silicon Valley And Their Obsession With Smart Drugs

Nootropics, also referred to as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, are becoming increasingly popular in Silicon Valley circles where there is extreme competition and laser focus on achievement. Many involved in technology are fresh out of college where they used drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin, to help them study and excel on tests. Once transitioning to careers, drug use often continues and becomes even more serious due to relentless work demands. Even some high-level executives and business owners within Silicon Valley are experimenting with smart drugs to keep their competitive edge. A few notable individuals, such as investor and entrepreneur Dave Asprey, even admit to using them and justify it by claiming that they improve quality of life. Watch Dave Asprey’s candid insight on smart drugs in Silicon Valley via CNN: https://youtu.be/6jPbacDiXUo

Do Smart Drugs Improve Brain Power?

There are only a few drugs that have been proven to improve cognitive abilities. The most common of these are caffeine and nicotine. Amphetamine pharmaceuticals also fall into this category, such as Adderall and dextroamphetamine. Others have been developed to treat cognitive or motor function disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. The use of these drugs has been shown to temporarily increase productivity and alertness, but there are adverse effects, including the risk of addiction. A growing number of individuals in Silicon Valley are seeking treatment for addiction to smart drugs. For some, drugs being used specifically for performance enhancement are having the opposite effect by creating a relentless addiction that disrupts productivity and the ability to function at a higher level. Learn about the dark side of smart drugs via BBC News: https://youtu.be/7XsviBxbLvI

What Is The Future Of Smart Drugs In Silicon Valley?

As competition only continues to grow with tech professionals all vying to earn their first five million by 25, use of drugs to support long hours and intensely complex work will only increase. Likewise, the number of individuals who fall into the trap of addiction will increase, as well.

Don’t Wait To Get Help

Addiction doesn’t go away on its own, and it requires professional treatment. Don’t ignore the signs of addiction. Call for help now and learn how you can live a productive, successful life without drugs. Please spread the word and share this post to raise awareness of an all new class of drugs we need to be aware of and watch out for.

How Can Prescription Drug Abuse Easily Turn Into Heroin Abuse?

People often assume that prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that these medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with prescription pain relievers and why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when taking them.

How Prescription Painkillers Escalate Into Heroin

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical mold society has created.

Let’s take a look at an all-too-common scenario that treatment centers are seeing today:

How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Easily Turn Into Heroin AbuseKristen is a college student and runs track. She’s an excellent sprinter but ends up getting injured in her junior year. She sees a doctor to help manage the pain, and the doctor prescribes painkillers. Kristen has no problem taking them because they are prescribed by someone she trusts. She takes the pills, which work for a while, but then the pain slowly returns.

With final exams and work, Kristen can’t be uncomfortable, so she doubles up on the pills and finally gets some relief. It isn’t long before she builds up a tolerance. Even though Kristen’s pain is getting better, she sees her doctor to get more medication. He refuses. She now has a craving to fill, and she becomes fixated on getting something else. Heroin becomes the next step because it’s cheap, easy to get and has a similar effect as painkillers.

Although Kristen could have never imagined having an addiction to prescription drugs which turned into abusing and becoming addicted to heroin, a prescription drug rehab program in the Bay Area, it’s now her reality.

How Can I Prevent Becoming Addicted To Painkillers?

While prescription pain relievers have a bad rap, the reality is that they do have a purpose. Many people need them at one point or another to provide relief following an injury, accident or operation. It’s possible that you will need them, too, one day. Just because you take prescription pain pills does not mean you will become addicted. There are steps you can take to prevent dependency.

  • Don’t take more than the recommended dosage.
  • If you notice that you are becoming tolerant to the drug, tell your doctor immediately.
  • Take the medication for the shortest amount of time. If you can get by without it, do so.
  • Find other ways to manage your pain such as massage therapy, yoga, meditation or magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) baths.
  • Properly dispose of unused medicine.

Being aware of the dangers of prescription opioids helps prevent addiction. If you know that what you are taking can be addictive, you’ll be more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations and only use the medicine as necessary.

Summit Estate Recovery Center has a team of caring, compassionate staff that is happy to start you on the journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, we can help. Call us today to learn more.

3 Myths About Drug Abuse And Addiction

There is much we now know about drug abuse and addiction. Yet, there are many things we are still finding out from ongoing research. Fortunately, as more is learned, we are able to debunk common myths that are often generated by those with limited knowledge of the challenges facing individuals suffering from addiction.

Myths About Drug Abuse And Addiction

The following are three such myths that have been proven to be wholeheartedly false.

Myth #1: Drug Addiction Is A Choice

Although taking drugs may be a choice at first, it eventually becomes a compulsion propelled by chemical changes in the brain caused by the drug. Addiction is a side effect of drug abuse and not simply a lifestyle choice.

Because of this side effect, a holistic drug abuse treatment program is necessary to address both the physical and emotional aspects of addiction.

Myth #2 – Drug Abuse Is A Character Flaw

3 Myths About Drug Abuse & Addiction-SummitEstate.comThis is a common myth generated by those who believe that people who abuse drugs simply need to have stronger will power to overcome it. The reality is that drug addiction is a brain disease. Each type of drug changes brain function in its own unique way. These changes occur at a molecular and cellular level and can affect mood, memory, cognitive ability and even motor skills.

Over time, these changes become the single most powerful motivator in a substance abuser’s life. They will literally do anything for the drug. In other words, it’s not a choice or character flaw, but rather an uncontrollable compulsion.

Myth #3 – Those Suffering From Addiction Have To Want Treatment For It To Be Effective

It is a rare individual who wants to undergo addiction treatment, as many are afraid of withdrawals, and life without their substance. The two most common reasons people seek addiction treatment are because loved ones have urged them or because they were court ordered to do so. Research has actually shown that individuals who enter heroin addiction treatment or other drug treatment programs with pressure to address their addiction do comparatively better in treatment than those who enter solely on their own volition. This could be because they know they have support behind them and don’t want to let down or be without their loved ones.

Help For Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction

It is a fact that the cycle of addiction requires effective drug abuse treatment. The problem will not go away on its own and will only get worse over time. Don’t delay in getting the help you or someone you care about needs. Our individualized treatment programs can help get you or a loved one on the road to recovery and long-term sobriety.

Call Us Now To Learn More!